Hoping for change: new Finnish parliament

There’s an election going on here in Finland; by the end of the week we will have chosen who will sit in our parliament for the next four years.

I’m hoping to see people in the parliament who will work for at least these things;

  • Animal welfare
    • Focus on the animal welfare instead of economic winnings in creating the new Animal Welfare Act
    • A decision to end fur farming within the next ten years, and an actual plan on how to do so
    • A decision to move away from factory farming
  • Environment
    • Moving more and more towards renewable energy sources, away from oil, coal, nuclear energy etc.
    • Promotion of plant-based, organic and locally grown food both in schools and in society in general
  • Equality:
    • Keeping to the decision of marriage equality
    • Working against racism and sexism in working life and society in general

Use your privilege and vote, dear Finnish citizens! We don’t have any right to complain or demand change if we don’t do anything for that change to happen.

No choice to be made

It’s been a while again. I’ve had a period when I haven’t really felt like being in “activist mode”, and thereby not felt like I have much to say on the blog. I’ve been preoccupied with a lot of other things, both in a positive and negative way.

Sometimes we really let the wrong things take over, things that should not even be allowed into our lives in the first place. There’s been a lot of that lately, I’ve been fighting with myself the past months and it takes a lot of strength to do so. Not much is left for the things that really matter.

Sometimes we also need a break from the things that matter the most to us, just so that we will have the strength to keep on believing in them for the long haul. Even though I never stop being an activist – I am an activist by just being me and making the choices I make – I sometimes have to take a step back and focus on something else. I don’t think I’m the only one who needs to do this. It’s important to fight for what you believe in, but there’s no point fighting so hard that it kills you. No one will benefit from that – not you, and not the cause you are fighting for.

When I was younger I used to be afraid that I would lose my passion when I get older. That I would just settle for a simple, “mainstream” life. I used to think that I have to make a choice between to extremes – having an ordinary family life and being an activist – but I don’t. They can work together, actually they probably balance each other, the passion and fighting on one end and the ordinary, day-to-day life on the other.

There’s no choice to be made.

Tahdon, I do

Pride-Flag

A few hours ago the Finnish parliament accepted the citizen’s initiative for marriage equality. This means that in the near future people of the same sex will (hopefully) finally be able to get married here in Finland. It’s been a though fight for the organizations and individuals working for this change to happen, but now it has finally paid off. Today love has won. Amazing!

Is eating meat a personal choice?

I’m just popping in to share this short clip from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, which addresses the issue of personal choice when it comes to eating meat.

Is the decision to eat meat just a personal choice, or is there more to it than that? Is there bias in the choice to eat meat? Where do we draw the line between a personal choice and an ethical one?

Find out what Colleen thinks!

Happy World Vegan Day!

Today is World Vegan Day, the culmination of Vegetarian Awareness Month and my 6th anniversary as a vegan!

World Vegan Day was established in 1994 by the former president & chair of The Vegan Society, to commemorate the Society’s 50th anniversary. That makes this year The Vegan Society’s 70th anniversary! At the same time it’s also the 70th anniversary of the words “vegan” and “veganism”, coined by Donald Watson.

We’ve celebrated this day with some vegan cake. In this case carrot cake (turned carrot cupcake by request of R). The recipe I used is in Finnish, it has been circulating around different places so I’m not sure where it originally comes from. The recipe will make a big baking tray of cake, I made half of the amount which is enough for 12 cupcakes or a smaller cake.

Carrot cake:
2 dl oat or soy cream
6 dl sugar
1,5 dl oil
9 dl finely shredded carrots
6 dl flour
1,5 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
3 tsp vanilla sugar
5 tsp cinnamon

Start by mixing the cream and sugar together. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Pour the batter onto a baking tray (or into muffin liners) and bake in 175 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes (shorter time if you make cupcakes). Let the cake cool down before adding the frosting.

carrot cupcake

Vegan cream cheese frosting:
150 g natural vegan cream cheese (Tofutti)
90 g vegan margarine
6 dl confectioner’s sugar
1,5 tsp vanilla sugar
shredded coconut or almond flakes for decoration

Mix cream cheese and margarine together. Add vanilla and confectioner’s sugar and mix until it’s even. It should be quite thick. Spread on top of the cake (or cupcake) and decorate with shredded coconut or almond flakes (or both!). For 12 cupcakes or a smaller cake you only need to make half of this recipe.

If you don’t have access to vegan cream cheese (which I didn’t have today), this is a good alternative frosting:
90 g vegan margarine
6 dl confectioner’s sugar
1,5 tsp vanilla sugar
about 1 tbsp soy milk (or other plant-based milk)
shredded coconut or almond flakes for decoration

Mix together margarine, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar. Add in the soy milk, if needed you can add a little more than 1 tablespoon, but make sure the mixture doesn’t get too thin. Decorate the same way as you would have done with the cream cheese frosting.

Awake too long

I’ve seen the eyes of the widows left behind
I’ve seen a child of a fallen man
And never once did our leaders apologize
for battles they began

I can’t look away or pretend not to see
And so I stay

I’ve been awake too long
Wish there was something that could close my eyes to all that I see
Awake too long
It would be easier to fall asleep

Finnish animal advocacy history

I recently finished reading the book “Jonkun on uskallettava katsoa: Animalian puoli vuosisataa” (“Someone has to dare to look: the half century of Animalia”) by Tiia Aarnipuu (2011), which depicts the history of Finland’s biggest animal protection organization, Animalia. At the same time it also gives a picture of Finnish animal protection and animal rights history in general.

For me, who is still relatively new in the animal advocacy movement, reading the history behind it is both interesting and gives me a better understanding of the situation we are in now. I appreciate more the work that has been done for the animals long before I was even born; the struggles that the organizations and individual animal advocates have gone through during the years, and the victories that have been celebrated. As in every other movement, knowing the history is very important if you want to be able to move forward.

Some important happenings in the Finnish animal advocacy history, based on the book, include:

  • 1901 – the foundation of Uudenmaan Eläinsuojeluyhdistys, today SEY (Suomen Eläinsuojeluyhdistys)
  • 1961 – the foundation of what later became Animalia
  • 1971 – the foundation of the Juliana von Went Fund for Research Without Animal Experiments
  • 1991 – Peter Singer’s book “Animal Liberation” was first published in Finnish
  • 1995 – the foundation of Oikeutta Eläimille

Another interesting book, which depicts the rise of the new animal rights movement in Finland in the 1990’s, and the creation of the animal rights organization Oikeutta Eläimille, is “Ulos häkeistä! Kaksi näkökulmaa uuden eläinliikkeen sisältä” (“Out of the cages! Two perspectives from inside the new animal movement”) by Salla Tuomivaara and Joni Purmonen (1998).

Are there any other good books on the history of animal advocacy – especially in other countries – that you would recommend?